Celebrating the 53rd Independence Anniversary

                        PRESS STATEMENT

Fellow countrymen, this Friday 0ctober 9th 2015, Uganda will be celebrating her 53rd Independence Anniversary. This year’s celebration will be held in Gulu Town, Kaunda Grounds starting 9:00am. The chief guest will be President Yoweri Museveni.
This year’s theme is “Striving for a prosperous people and country: The meaning of true independence.”
In Africa has been variously defined and or interpreted by its beneficiaries. Some have understood it to be a mere victorious replacement of alien white colonialists, a lowering of the colonial flag and the hosting of that of the newly independent nation, by the Africans. Others define it as a process and a gate to eating big and acquiring easy wealth by whatever means by a few fortunate and acrobatic opportunists. But much as these interpretations may bear some unarguable grains of truth, Independence is much more than this. It bears noble meaning and deserves greater responsibility.
The history of the first twenty years of post-Independence Uganda shows that our nation had more than a fair share of this unenviable experience. She sailed in this quagmire to the extent that by 1986, the country was experiencing absolute poverty in spite of the sugar-coated descriptions of her economy.
Fortunately, that period came and passed, leaving the nation with bitter memories which, though, have since served as learnable lessons. The last twenty five years of our Independence have witnessed a miraculous resurrection of Uganda as an Independent nation, thanks to some patriotic and caring Ugandans who saw the wisdom in using these learnable lessons.
The resurrection began with the restoration of peace and security for Ugandans both for their lives and properties and the return of democratic and constitutional governance. The much talked of and eagerly awaited for elections due to take place barely six months from now- are a result and a continuation of this democratic process.
Having survived the ravages of civil unrest of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Uganda was among the first Sub-Saharan African countries to embark on liberalization and pro-market policies.
As a result, real gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 7% per year in the 1990s and the 2000s. New statistical evidence from census which was carried out in2014 suggests that the Ugandan economy is about 20% larger than had previously been calculated. As we move ahead, the economy is forecast to grow at a rate of approximately 6.6% in FY14/15, and could maintain an upward trajectory into the near future, as oil investments and the large infrastructure program boost construction activities.
Great success have been achieved especially with respect to income poverty, promoting gender equality and women empowerment, reducing child mortality, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. The three decades of strong economic growth with poverty reducing from 56% in 1992-93 to 19.7% by 2012-13, thus surpassing the 2015 MDG target of halving the poverty rate.
Finally, Uganda now stands tall among nation states alongside the high and mighty like the US and EU. Indeed, these other giants consult Uganda quite often on matters of fighting global challenges like terrorism, climate change and HIV/AIDS, unemployment among others.
As a country we continue to design relevant programmes and policies to accelerate progress towards middle income status and promote shared prosperity, let us take this Oct 9th as our day off to celebrate these massive achievements with our brothers in Acholiland.

Hon Frank K Tumwebaze
Minister for Presidency and Kampala Capital City,
MP Kibaale County